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Old river village enjoys new tide of growth

China Daily | Updated: 2022-10-22 09:42
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HAIKOU — In the village of Liuke in South China's Hainan province, houses built with dark bricks and red windows stand quietly amid tall, green coconut trees. The village's name suggests hospitality as its English translation is "guests stay".

"This is just beautiful," says Zhao Mingzhuo, a tourist from East China's Zhejiang province who is on vacation with his family. "The kids get to enjoy the fields here, the elderly have some peace and quiet, and the young people can go camping. It's quite an experience here."

Like Zhao, many tourists have come to the village to admire its natural beauty and abundant culture.

Liuke is one of the ancient villages sitting on the plains in the lower reaches of the Wanquan River in Hainan.

Spanning 163 kilometers, the river flows through an area of more than 3,600 square kilometers.

There is a classic Chinese folk song, which sings in praise of the lucid water of the river, and in recent years the Wanquan River has become a calling card for Hainan, thanks to the rich stories and history associated with it.

Different from the rapid water currents and mountainous landscape upstream, the lower reaches of the river flows smoothly and is flanked by rice paddy fields.

For hundreds of years, locals built villages and townships amid rainforests along the river. Liuke village is one of them.

In the old days, when villagers needed to travel beyond their villages, or outside the province, they had to transfer there. Gradually, the village became a stopover for tourists, hence its name, Liuke.

In recent years, in answer to the country's rural revitalization drive, authorities have made efforts to attract tourists to the village with sightseeing and entertainment programs.

For instance, villagers and tourists can admire the beauty of the Wanquan River along a 1.2-km-long "landscape belt".

To attract young people, village authorities have developed programs such as riverside camping and kayaking.

"The transformation of the village not only attracted tourists, but also helped retain villagers," says local official Wang Kelu, adding that locals can earn a salary by working in the village.

Many are cooks, gardeners and drivers, according to Cai Renhan, head of the village's rural cooperative.

"I used to work in the township more than 5 km away. Now I can earn at least 2,800 yuan ($393) a month by working near my home," says villager Huang Yasan, 50. "I am content with my life."


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